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Winter weather disruption at Center Parcs drags down profits

PUBLISHED: 09:49 14 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:38 14 September 2018

New waterside lodges at Center Parcs' resort in Elveden. The company has reported a fall in profits for 2017/18 despite turnover edging up. Picture: Ian Burt

New waterside lodges at Center Parcs' resort in Elveden. The company has reported a fall in profits for 2017/18 despite turnover edging up. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Profits at holiday group Center Parcs have slipped despite the group inching closer towards the half-billion pound turnover mark.

Center Parcs Elveden Forest general manager, Nicky Richardson. Picture: Ian BurtCenter Parcs Elveden Forest general manager, Nicky Richardson. Picture: Ian Burt

The company, which operates five holiday resorts in England including in Elveden, near Thetford, recorded revenue of £469m for the 53 weeks to April 26 – up from £440.3m – as the popularity of short breaks among British holidaymakers continued to rise.

But it said profits had been hit by heavy snowfall in March – which caused the closure of its Longleat Forest and affected guest arrivals and activities at its other villages – and on-going refinancing costs.

Pre-tax profit fell from £70.5m to £58.3m, after exceptional charges totalling almost £30m. The group said this included £26.9m to refinance its debt and £700,000 in one-off restructuring costs.

READ MORE: Center Parcs sees 156% rise in bookings after World Cup

Center Parcs said the closure of Longleat Forest, estimated to have cost the company £1.6m in revenue, was only the fourth time a village has had to close in more than 30 years of trading.

But a report filed with its accounts, signed off by the company’s board, struck an upbeat tone about its prospects.

It said: “With recent trends showing an increase in family short breaks, particularly in the UK, the Center Parcs concept is more relevant today than at any point in its history in the UK market.

READ MORE: Take a look at Center Parcs Elveden Forest’s first lakeside lodges

“Center Parcs continually invests heavily to ensure that we deliver high quality service, accommodation and facilities, combined with an unrivalled array of activities that cater for the most discerning of families, as well as the most changeable of British weather.”

Center Parcs Elveden Forest has seen significant investment in its accommodation over the past few years – including the opening of new waterside lodges and apartments – and is planning to invest a further £10m in its operations this year.

The village was Center Parcs’ biggest earner in 2016/2017, contributing more than £92m to the group’s turnover.

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